SOUND OFF: 4K HDR problems on DIRECTV?

OK, blog readers, see if this sounds familiar to you. Helping a friend out here.

Brand new TV from a major manufacturer. Supports 4K HDR (All flavors), Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1. DIRECTV C61K client. High-speed HDMI cables. When watching a program in 4K HDR, all is well. But switch back to an HD channel and the picture is way too contrasty. Turn the TV off and back on again, and it’s fine.

I’ve seen this behavior before from older TVs and from those TVs that claim to be HDR but don’t support the standards fully. This is the first time I’ve seen it from a truly high-end manufacturer.

What do you all think?

Clearly this is some sort of inconsistency with the way the TV is switching from 4K HDR to 1080i SDR. Not surprisingly the problem doesn’t happen with other HDR sources like a streaming box or the TV’s built-in apps. It doesn’t happen with 4K SDR for the most part. There was apparently one time it did but I suspect this was just a program that was really HDR and didn’t report as such.

Over the years I have been such a big fan of DIRECTV 4K, and I find the quality is excellent. When there’s a real 4K source (not just upscaled HD) it can be astoundingly good on any size screen. I really think this is the first time I’ve personally seen any sort of problem when you’re running compliant hardware.

I’ve mentioned the problem to folks “in the know,” and they’re looking into it as well. But of course they can’t reproduce it, just like I can’t reproduce it with another TV. So, I’d like to ask you folks, is this something you’ve seen with modern, HDR-compliant TVs? Leave a comment below and let’s see what we can do to get this licked.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.